Ideas For Inexpensive Family Vacations


Inexpensive Family Vacations In the Auvergne

The Auvergne is another one of those lovely places to visit in France that aren’t well known to outsiders.

The Auvergne is in the Massif Central (Europe’s largest volcanic range), central France, with some of the most unspoiled and beautiful scenery in the country, often overlooked in favour of the Perigord further south.


The Auvergne is characterised by vast, open mountains and hills with lakes, forests and rivers – an outdoor lovers paradise with everything from rafting, paragliding, canoeing and hiking. Its a perfect place for inexpensive family vacations.

The Auvergne has a few national parks, including the Parc Naturel Regional des Volcans d’Auvergne, and the Parc Naturel des Livradois-Forez, as well as a number of medieval castles and fortresses (like Murol and le Val).

The Auvergne is a great place for inexpensive family vacations and family summer vacations, as well as groups of friends or couples – anyone really! You have not just the beautiful natural surroundings, but hundreds of churches, castles and museums if you love history and architecture, as well as hearty and delicious regional cuisine and local wines. What more could you ask for….

Here are some fun vacation ideas if you’re planning a visit to the Auvergne:

  • Hike up the Puy de Dome volcano on the old mule track (you’ll need to be fit) – takes about an hour. Or, if you’re coming outside of the summer months, you can drive up. The view at the top is amazing – a panorama of volcanos!
  • Go on the Auvergne cheese route (Route des Fromages) – you can download a map and more information here;
  • Hike or go horse-riding in one of the many nature parks and spot wildlife like black kites, eagles and hawks;
  • Auvergne has ten spa towns. Relax and rejuvenate with natural hot mineral springs like le Mont-Dore or Vichy;
  • The Auvergne is also great for cross country skiing in winter, too.. If you’re skiing here, try the Hotel Le Russie, a friendly and cozy hotel in Mont Dore, with an excellent restaurant, very reasonable rates. 3 rue Favart, Le Mont-Dore 63240, France
  • Take the kids to the 12th century Chateau de Murol, who have costumed guides and medieval life demonstrations. The kids will love it. Other castles worth visiting are Chateau de Val at Bort-les-Orgues, near Salers, and the Chateau d’Anjony.
  • Magnificent drives: take the A71/A75 through the Auvergne for a stunning road trip
  • Pack a baguette and some cheese and enjoy a picnic on the Lac Pavin, a beautiful lake on an extinct volcano, surrounded by green forest.

The best way to get to the Auvergne is to head to Clermont-Ferrand, about 3 hours train trip from Paris; allow about 5 hours for driving.

There are also flights to Clermont-Ferrand, Limoges and Vichy.

For places to stay, you could stay in a simple farmhouse such as La Closérie de Manou bed and breakfast. Or for something more luxurious, try Les Deux Abbesses, a lovely, unusual hotel in a historic village perched on top of a hill.

If you are travelling with young children and looking for inexpensive family vacations, you might like to consider renting a gite or holiday home.


Here is a map to give you an idea where the Auvergne is in France. It is best to explore the area by car, as public transport is limited.

Auvergne Map

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